On the heels of the 2015 NFL Draft, here's a look at five picks that I loved and five that led me to raise an eyebrow as a bit of a head-scratcher.
5 picks I loved
Round 1, pick 7: WR Kevin White, Chicago Bears: White not only fills the void left by the departure of Brandon Marshall but potentially elevates Chicago's offense even more. He'll team with Alshon Jeffery to give the Bears a formidable attack downfield. They easily could have gone defense with this pick, but I have no argument with landing one of the top five players in the draft -- my No. 1-ranked WR -- at No. 7 overall.
Round 1, pick 10: RB Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams: People obviously have mixed feelings about taking a running back early in the draft, especially one that is coming off of an ACL tear. However, I was very high on Gurley prior to his injury and remain so given that all the medical updates I've heard lead me to believe he's still going to be a big-time player. The addition of Gurley allows head coach Jeff Fisher to play the style of offense he did in his heyday with the Tennessee Titans. Gurley can be Fisher's Eddie George.
Round 1, pick 22: OLB Bud Dupree, Pittsburgh Steelers: We've talked about the Steelers' needs in the secondary throughout the offseason, but there was a big-time need at OLB, too. When you pull James Harrison out of retirement and he immediately becomes arguably your top outside linebacker, there's clearly a need for more at the position. Former defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has moved on, but the Steelers will still rely on their outside linebackers to be top playmakers, and that's what they're expecting from Dupree. He helps continue the makeover of the Pittsburgh defense.
Round 2, pick 33: S Landon Collins, New York Giants: There was plenty of talk heading into that draft that Collins was the top safety available. He was a tremendous value at the top of Round 2, and I like the Giants' aggressiveness in trading up to land him. They will be getting an extremely motivated player who's ticked off that he didn't go in the first round. In the NFC East, his physical presence can help set a tone for a Giants defense that needs to improve.
Round 3, pick 73: RB Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons were seeking a high-volume runner to replicate what Michael Turner gave them in their recent glory days, and they found a great fit in Coleman. His ability to run the ball will open up the play-action game for Matt Ryan to find Julio Jones, Roddy White and fourth-round pick Justin Hardy downfield. That formula led the Falcons to division titles, and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game.
5 head-scratching picks
Round 1, pick 19: C Cameron Erving, Cleveland Browns: I love Erving as a player, but the pick was a bit of a head-scratcher. I thought the Browns needed speed at wide receiver here. They have some size at the position in Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline, but still need a guy who can stretch the field. Erving probably will be playing guard in his first season, which isn't a natural position for him. However, he could be sliding back to center in 2016 if two-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack opts out of his contract after the 2015 campaign, so you can see the reasoning behind an Erving pick. I was just surprised they didn't go with a pass-catcher here.
Round 1, pick 25: LB Shaq Thompson, Carolina Panthers: I thought there was more of a need here for a WR or OT. I can understand not wanting to elevate an OT this early if they didn't have one available who was graded that high, but WRs like Breshad Perriman and Devin Smith were still available and would have made a lot of sense. So, where will Thompson, whose best position was up for debate at times this offseason, play? Will he be an outside linebacker/safety hybrid? My guess is he'll eventually replace the player who announced him as the Panthers' pick Thursday night in Chicago, outside linebacker Thomas Davis. The thing is, we can question GM Dave Gettleman all we want, but he's won back-to-back NFC South titles in his two years on the job.
Round 1, pick 30: S Damarious Randall, Green Bay Packers: I thought the Packers could have gone with an inside linebacker or nose tackle here. An ILB like Stephone Anthony or Eric Kendricks would've made sense as they would like to move Clay Matthews back to outside linebacker full time. Nose tackles Malcom Brown and Jordan Phillips could have helped shore up an area of need. Instead, the Packers took a safety, Randall, in the first round a year after spending a first-round pick on safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Now, the upside of the pick is that Randall has the flexibility to play corner or safety, and there are plenty of big targets to cover within the division. However, I think the Packers are thinking bigger than their division with this pick. To get to the Super Bowl, they might have to go up against the likes of Jimmy Graham in Seattle, or Carolina, who just added another tall tree in Devin Funchess a year after taking Kelvin Benjamin in the first round. Then there's the ultimate question of how to defend Gronk in, say, the Super Bowl. Thinking along those lines helps explain the Randall pick.
Round 2, pick 60: OLB Randy Gregory, Dallas Cowboys: Based on where we thought he would go in the draft -- the top 10 -- getting Gregory at No. 60 is an unbelievable value. But the reasons for his fall are well-documented, and this is the same team that signed Greg Hardy earlier this offseason. Hardy has been suspended for 10 games for conduct detrimental to the league and has appealed the suspension. The Cowboys are taking some big risks here. Gregory's talent is undeniable, but off the field, there's a lot to work through. I think Dallas would be wise to follow the blueprint from the way San Francisco utilized Aldon Smith in his rookie year. Have a plan for Gregory -- don't make him a full-time player right away. Turn him loose on passing downs and in sub packages and get him on the field in three-man fronts. The Cowboys will need Gregory to play well while Hardy is out. Dallas believes it has a plan that will work for Gregory, but the situation bears watching.
Round 2, pick 64: S Jordan Richards, New England Patriots: Some people might have had a third-round grade on Richards, but I think most had him as a fourth-rounder. Richards gives New England off-the-charts intelligence, but I think there were better athletes available at the position for the Patriots to consider and I still think WR is a need for them -- there were plenty of intriguing pass-catchers on the board here. Of course, the Patriots don't ask us for any draft advice, and they don't need to coming off of another Super Bowl win.